New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Mitchell G. Rothstein and Ronald J. Burke
Chapter 14: The Role of Developmental Social Networks in Effective Leader Self-Learning Processes
Krista Langkamer Ratwani, Stephen J. Zaccaro, Sena Garven and David S. Geller Today’s dynamic, post-industrial work environment demands continuous employee development. The rapid pace of change, however, does not allow for the efficient delivery of formal organizational training on each and every skill-domain combination that shifting environmental contingencies may require for success. Accordingly, for organizations to maintain (and, indeed, enhance) their competitive advantage, their employees need to be engaged in continuous learning (Sessa and London, 2006), primarily through the learning mechanisms of self-development. Self-development is a fully learnerconstructed process that individuals undertake in order to gain knowledge or strengthen a skill-set (Confessore and Kops, 1998). Specifically, the focus of this chapter is on leader self-development. Constantly changing work demands make identifying particular skills that leaders need in the near and far future extremely difficult (Hall, 1986). The idiosyncratic nature of these shifting skill requirements often means that employees need to take some of the responsibility for their own leader development. However, understanding this development process itself, as well as the means to more effectively facilitate it, is an area in need of more research. The leader self-development process requires a number of specific preparatory and supporting actions to maximize potential learning gains for the leader. Preparatory actions concern those activities in which leaders engage to establish an effective foundation for pending self-development activities. Such activities can include an analysis of what entails effective leadership, a self appraisal of one’s own strengths and developmental needs as a leader, and a general...
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